4 killer questions to ask your team when building an employee benefits package

Paul Dodd
March 10, 2024
min read

To build a truly effective employee benefits package you need to uncover the realities about working at your organisation and get to the emotional truth about why people joined, why they stay and what’s lacking from their employee experience.

If you’re in control of employee benefits, one of your main goals is to uncover the authentic employee experience within an organisation. This allows you to make decisions about what you can add, remove or change to truly add value to your team and culture.

Companies often have a rose-tinted view of their benefits package, that’s focused on all the perks that they see other companies offering, that they too have embraced. Without actually understanding if it’s wanted, needed or if your existing benefits package is fully understood and being used by your team.

Getting it right isn’t easy, however do so and you will build a strong employer brand that ties into your culture and aligns your team with your organisation’s strategic objectives. With the upside of less regrettable leavers, less recruitment costs and less losing your best people to competitors!

Getting true, unbiased employee insights

Having worked with many people, benefits and culture teams we’ve learnt that the key to positive change is unlocking unbiased truth from employees. You need this genuine insight into your organisation and its culture and, in particular, what motivates your workforce to overcome the unique set of challenges, big and small, that come with every role.

It’s not so much about hearing gripes about the coffee machine that doesn’t work properly, the unreliable IT or the troublesome commute, it’s about personal stories, personal motivations, and emotional connections. We’ve refined 4 key questions that get to the heart of what your team is really feeling, so you can build an effective benefits package that truly supports them.

1. "If it was your job to dissuade someone from joining this organisation, and you couldn't lie, what would you say?"

It's an almost magical prompt. When invited to be bluntly honest, people suddenly want to talk. The floodgates open wide. You will hear openly about the relentless deadlines, the lack of work-life balance, the dysfunction that gets brushed under the rug. It's never all sunshine and rainbows. If a company leader tells you it is, they’re lying!

The question creates safety and signals that criticism is welcome, which builds the connection and trust needed for vulnerability and authentic sharing.

After the venting, ask:

2. "Okay, that sounds really tough. What's your greatest advice for someone starting here on how to survive and even thrive?"

Here we transition to tapping into people's pride, celebrating strengths and resilience. The same person complaining a minute ago starts proudly sharing all about their capabilities to handle challenges. You will hear inspiring stories of grit, growth, camaraderie and persevering through adversity.

Next, ask:

3. "Given everything we've put on the table, the good and the bad, why do you stay?"

This is when we get to purpose, impact, belonging - the heart of the culture. People share emotional stories of fighting through the hardest parts of the job because of belief in the mission, love for team-mates, drive to keep growing. Many end up deep in emotions as they tap into the profound meaning that the work brings them.

And in all honesty, that’s exactly the reaction you’re reaching for. Unfiltered, raw, emotions - the best measure of a session like that is how many end up with tears in their eyes after telling you a very personal story about why they’re here and why they stay.

For the final question ask:

4. “If we had a magic wand, and could change one thing about the organisation to improve your experience what would it be?”

Here you'll unlock deep and genuine insights as to the changes and additions that would make the biggest difference to their lives. This should reveal insight into the single biggest pain point people are experiencing and ideas and suggestions that you may never have expected. Also consider the participants time to answer, the quicker the better and more reliable the insight. Look for patterns across the workforce, if half of the people cite the same thing, there’s a good chance that it’s a genuine issue that you need to change.

Using this framework, in an hour you will go on a journey from sarcastic criticism to vulnerable truth-telling and on to grateful reflections on fulfilment and improvements at work. Forging real human connections with your team. You’ll leave with tons of genuine insights, likely many that you weren’t expecting, that can help you to eliminate any guesswork and design a benefits package that you know will add value to your team members.

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